Kaitlin and Eric

Promised "I do" on July 18, 2015

Kaitlin and Eric first met in college. They got to know each other in class before Eric left to perform with his band at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN. While away, Kaitlin realized how much she missed Eric and just how important he was to her. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

It didn’t take long for Kaitlin to realize Eric was the one. His innate desire to help people and his willingness to compromise were two strong indicators. Being in similar career fields helped too. Kaitlin was a speech language pathologist. Eric was a music therapist.

“I love the idea of always having a teammate for life by my side. Eric is my constant and my support and knowing he is who I get to end every day next to is such a comforting, safe feeling,” said Kaitlin.

The Proposal

Kaitlin and Eric had planned a long, 10-day camping trip to the Upper Peninsula in June 2013. Eric had asked Kaitlin’s parents for her hand prior to the trip, and Kaitlin had a sneaking suspicion this may be “it.” On their first night, Kaitlin and Eric stopped at Wilderness State Park just south of Mackinac Bridge. It was Kaitlin’s dad’s recommendation. He knew of a romantic area there that made you feel like you were completely surrounded by water. Kaitlin and Eric hiked to the spot. Soon after, Eric spoke some beautiful words about their future and got down on one knee (in the mud!) to propose.

The Day & Design

Kaitlin wanted her wedding to be pretty and comfortable, with bright colors and personalized touches. This meant nearly every aspect of her and Eric’s wedding was DIY. The centerpieces consisted of hundreds of glass containers, some vases, some salt and pepper shakers, some bottles, etc. The dessert was donuts from the couple’s favorite donut shop in Kalamazoo rather than a traditional cake. The guest book was a hand drawn tree by Kaitlin’s uncle and its frame handmade by another uncle. Guests put their fingerprints on the guest book to form the leaves of the tree. Eric is Jewish, and Kaitlin was raised Catholic. They made sure to incorporate traditions from both faiths, breaking the glass, the hora, the unity candle interpreted as a unity tree, which was planted using soil from each of their parent’s houses.

The Couple’s Advice

Find a balance between doing things yourself and hiring professionals. Kaitlin wished she hadn’t taken on quite so much, as the day got closer. Also, find a venue that you really love and that feels like you and your vision.

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Laura and John

Promised "I do" on June 6, 2015

Laura and John met 5 years ago, but first fell in love around the Thanksgiving holiday. Laura remembers feeling both grateful and blessed to have had the opportunity to celebrate the season with John and his family. She was grateful to be John’s partner and couldn’t wait to see their relationship grow.

The following March Laura and John planned an adventure in Hawaii. Laura was head over heels at this point and realized quickly that the couple would always be great travel buddies, around the world and through life.

The Proposal

John invited Laura to his parent’s house on the lake over Memorial Day weekend. During their first night there, he asked Laura to join him for a pontoon ride. He proposed on the boat as the sun was setting. They celebrated together, as a couple, before joining their family back at the lake house.

The Day & Design

Laura and John wanted a simple and elegant outdoor wedding, but with some great details. They wrote letters to each other and each other’s parents that were read during a lantern lighting and send-off.

The Couple’s Advice

Try to be on top of things sooner rather than later so you can enjoy the day when it comes. Stick together as a couple during the reception so that you enjoy meeting and greeting guests together.

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Outdoor Wedding Venues in Grand Rapids | Railside Golf Club

Brooke and Carlos

Promised "I do" on October 11, 2014

Brooke and Carlos met in their Persuasion and Propaganda class at Calvin College. A budding friendship (and a little persuasion) convinced Carlos and Brooke that they belonged together. They “studied” together frequently.

The Proposal

Carlos proposed on Independence Day after a day of fun in the sun. The couple spent the afternoon on the shores of Lake Michigan, enjoyed dinner at PF Chang, and then waited for the fireworks to begin. Carlos surprised Brooke with flowers just before he proposed to the love of his life, making it the most memorable 4th of July of their lives.

The Day & Design

The wedding took place outdoors on a beautiful fall day. The couple had a few unique details, including the decision to say their wedding vows in both English and Spanish. It helped make the ceremony extra special for all of their guests.

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Unique Outdoor Weddings, Grand Rapids | Railside Golf Club

Jaymie and Matt

Promised "I do" on September 27, 2014

Jaymie and Matt were fairly certain their lives had changed — for the better — the moment they met at a friend’s gathering. The pair bonded over each other’s wit and sense of humor and discovered quickly that they made each other laugh. Soon after meeting the two became inseparable.

The Proposal

Matt asked Jaymie over for dinner on a snowy December night. Jaymie arrived to a candlelit house, two-dozen roses, and a beautiful dinner. When the couple was finished eating, Matt ran upstairs to retrieve a scrapbook full of pictures and memories from their courtship. On the last page was a picture of the couple’s dog with a sign on its neck that said: Will you marry me? When Jaymie looked up Matt was down on his knee ready to propose.

The Day & Design

Jaymie and Matt reminisce that their wedding day was beyond perfect. It was a beautiful 80-degree September day. The couple’s wedding was unique in that it was rustic, country, and chic. One of their favorite design elements were the centerpieces: burlap runners, mason jars filled with baby’s breath, and candles atop circular logs.

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Unique Local Wedding Receptions | Railside Golf Club

Lindsey and Joel

Promised "I do" on September 12, 2014

Lindsey and Joel’s love has withstood distance, time, and transition. The couple met in kindergarten. Friendship turned to romance during their junior year of high school and romance soon turned to love. Despite attending different colleges – and despite Lindsey’s study abroad program in Spain – their love remained strong. They soon decided their love could withstand most anything and it was time to get engaged.

The Proposal

Joel and Lindsey visited the family cabin in northern Michigan with several friends over a special weekend. Joel, an avid hunter, brought some of his guns for target practice while he was there. After a couple rounds of target shooting, Joel asked one of his friends to change out the paper targets and to let Lindsey practice shooting the gun. Joel set the scope for her and as Lindsey peered through she noticed that something was written on the target. What did it say? She looked closer and read: Lindsey, will you marry me? Lindsey looked up at Joel to make sure it wasn’t a joke and saw him getting down on one knee to ask her to marry him.

The Day & Design

Lindsey and Joel’s outdoor wedding reception was simple, pretty, and DIY. Lindsey crafted handmade the invitations and name tags, assembled the ceremony programs, created the flower arrangements, and made the boutonnieres. The wedding elements were thoughtful and beautiful.

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Outdoor Locations for Weddings | Railside Golf Club

Tricia and Caleb

Promised "I do" on September 6, 2014

College is a great place to get an education. It’s also a great place to meet your future spouse. Just like Caleb did. Caleb met Tricia during a statistics class. He wasn’t too impressed with the mathematics, but decided to stick with it … because of Tricia. Their relationship was a gradual one. It wasn’t until Tricia moved to Chicago for a semester that the couple realized they were crazy about each other.

The Proposal

Caleb’s brother told him – in no uncertain terms – that he should marry Tricia. Caleb contemplated the “advice” and quickly decided he wanted Tricia to be in his life, no matter where he was headed. He asked Tricia to join him on a spontaneous trip to Toronto while they were visiting his family in Canada. The final destination was the CN Tower and its “Glass Floor,” a glass viewing area nearly 1,000 feet above ground. Despite Caleb’s fear of heights, both he and Tricia stepped out on the floor and – soon after – Caleb dropped to his knee to propose. After Tricia said yes, the newly engaged couple celebrated with cake and champagne with Caleb’s family.

The Day & Design

Many brides dream about their wedding and Tricia was no different. Both she and Caleb wanted their wedding day to be about their love and commitment to each other. Not about the decorations or the details. So the special day was simple, traditional, and all about DIY. Their families helped arrange the flowers, create the invitations, set up the candy station, and more. Tricia’s dad, an engineer, constructed a photo booth and her mom collected the props. The party really came alive when those same props migrated to the dance floor later in the evening.

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Grand Rapids Outdoor Wedding | Railside Golf Club

Kate and Steve

Promised "I do" on August 1, 2014

Kate and Steve met while in high school. It took them quite awhile to turn their friendship into something more, but soon they found themselves in a loving, caring, and fun relationship. After approximately two years of dating, they decided it was time to start discussing what their future might look like … together.

The Proposal

Kate and Steve had talked all winter about their desire to go ice-skating at Rosa Park’s Circle in downtown Grand Rapids. The day after Valentine’s Day it happened, despite the cold. After a few turns around the rink, Kate and Steve stopped to rest, and Steve popped down to one knee to propose. After Kate said yes, the couple met up with their friends and family to celebrate.

The Day & Design

The couple’s August wedding was a celebration of two families coming together. Kate and Steve like to describe their Grand Rapids outdoor wedding style as elegant, simple, and pretty. Mostly, though, it was all about family. Kate’s two sisters were her maid and matron of honor. Steve’s two brothers were the best men. Guests were also asked to pick a seat, not a side to symbolize the joining of two families.

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Unique Outdoor Wedding Locations, Michigan | Railside Golf Club

Olivia and David

Promised "I do" on July 25, 2014

David has always been good at basketball. In high school he was named Mr. Basketball, an award given to the best high school basketball player in the state of Michigan, and at Western Michigan University, he was an all-time leading scorer. Basketball was David’s life … until he met Olivia. Or at least until he re-met Olivia. David and Olivia attended elementary school together and were reintroduced post-college. Their relationship moved to a full court press soon after.

The Proposal

Olivia knew from the start that basketball would be part of her and David’s life. One evening David asked Olivia to join him at an open gym event he was hosting for the players he coached. When they arrived at the gymnasium David turned on the lights and asked Olivia to pick up the basketball in the center of the court. She did. The message on the side of the ball read: Will you marry me? When Olivia turned to look at David, he was already on his knee asking for her hand. The moment, David said, was even sweeter than being named Mr. Basketball.

 The Day & Design

David and Olivia chose to transform the inexpensive outdoor wedding venue at Railside Golf Club into an elegant, rustic, and relaxed reception for their July wedding. The cake table featured vintage-looking cake holders, burlap, crates, and small vases of flowers. Bundles of lanterns, tissue paper balls, and spring balls hung from the tent’s ceiling. Olivia had a lot of fun designing and creating her reception décor and was pleased everything turned out so beautifully.

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Grand Rapids Outdoor Wedding Venues | Railside Golf Club

Brittany and Tony

Promised "I do" on July 19, 2014

Brittany and Tony’s paths first crossed at the International School of Tegucigalpa in Honduras, where they both were teachers. After a year of teaching, Brittany was not sure whether or not she would be returning to Honduras. Tony sent her a list reasons why he wanted her to return, along with a list of ministries where Brittany could work. She returned, and their relationship began to develop…

The Proposal

Tony decided he wanted to marry Brittany over Christmas break. While in Nicaragua, he decided to take Brittany crab hunting. The pair walked along the beach – in the dark – for some time before Tony led Brittany to higher ground. There, he handed Brittany the headlamp he had been using. She looked up and saw message written in the sand with seashells: I love you, Brittany. Brittany turned around to Tony, on his knee, saying, “Will you marry me?”

The Day & Design

Brittany and Tony’s wedding was simple, classic, and fun. They planned their wedding in less than five months – and from a foreign country – but everything turned out exactly as they had planned. Another unique detail: during their ceremony, Brittany and Tony washed each other’s feet instead of lighting unity candles.

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Unique Outdoor Wedding Venues | Railside Golf Club

Lyndsey and Jason

Promised "I do" on July 18, 2014

Jason and Lyndsey first laid eyes on each other during their freshman year at Taylor University. Jason sat behind Lyndsey in class and was determined to get to know the beautiful brunette. Lyndsey had taken notice of Jason as well, but was too nervous to talk to him. Fortunately, friends of theirs introduced the pair several months later at a birthday party. Jason asked for Lyndsey’s phone number left the party more determined than ever to get to know her.

The Proposal

Jason and Lyndsey spent all of October 27, 2013, together in Indianapolis, Indiana. Lyndsey had convinced herself that this date was not “the date” because Jason was sentimental, but not overly romantic, and very laid back. The couple ended the date at their favorite coffee shop, like they did most dates. Many of their friends were there, but Lyndsey didn’t suspect a thing. Maybe just a busy night for doing homework? Jason excused himself to the bathroom shortly after he and Lyndsey sat down. The lights flickered and went out as he left and Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” started to play. When Lyndsey turned to see what was happening she saw Jason behind her and on one knee. He was holding a ring.

The Day & Design

Jason and Lyndsey described their wedding as homey, classic, and cozy. The couple included a giant iced and regular coffee bar (an ode to their engagement!) in the day’s activities. Guests also took home homemade biscotti to celebrate the couple’s marriage. The ceremony also included a traditional Korean bowing ceremony, which was a surprise to Jason’s parents. The bowing ceremony is customary in Korean culture and is used to honor and thank parents for raising them and their spouse.

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